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Course content

  • Gain a professional qualification in health visiting or occupational health nursing or school nursing
  • Build your understanding of clinical practice, wider public health and leadership and management
  • Develop specialist assessment, leadership and management skills.
  • Develop and build on your existing knowledge to ensure that you meet the competencies set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and you’re eligible to gain a registrable qualification
  • Become part of the public health workforce working toward improving people's lives and their health outcomes.

This course is for NMC registered nurses who want to gain a professional qualification in health visiting or occupational health nursing or school nursing. If you have either a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in nursing studies this course can be studied at degree level to top up your qualification.

During this course you will:

  • Develop the skills you need to become a practitioner in your own area of expertise, and work as a specialist public health nurse
  • Learn how to share the core values of a practitioner with your colleagues to help them with their professional development
  • Build up your skills in clinical practice, care and programme management, leadership, and public health, which will be essential when you become a practitioner
  • Enhance your research skills that will help you to look at the quality of care in your current practice and suggest improvements
  • Improve your understanding of professional roles and functions by networking, team building and communicating with other professionals.

Practice Assessment will encompass all the four domains of care, facilitation of learning, leadership and management, research and development.

We’re proud to say that our courses are closely mapped against the health and social care sector. This ensures that our curriculum is up-to-date, providing you with the assurance that your learning is current and relevant. This does mean that we do have to respond to national changes such as government policy. As a result, some of the information about our courses may change.

The Specialist Community Public Health Nurse Programme leading to Health Visitor or Occupational Health Nurse or School Nurse qualification accessed at Masters level gives you 120 credits at level 7 (Post Graduate Diploma). You can undertake this full time (1year) or part time (up to 3 years). To complete the full MSC (Masters) you will need to gain funding or self-fund to undertake the additional 60 credits needed at level 7, which will take an additional year post HV/OHN or SN qualification.

What you will study

By completing this programme you will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of clinical practice, care and caseload management, clinical practice leadership and clinical practice development to enable you to become an independent prescriber. Whilst studying on this programme you will spend equal amounts of time in practice and the learning environment.

You will also have the opportunity to go on an additional placement of your choice for three weeks.

You will study modules such as:

  • Evidence Based Project.
  • Leading for Quality
  • Principles of Practice Assessment or Diagnostic Reasoning in Clinical Practice.
  • Public Health and Health Promotion

You will also have the opportunity to choose two other modules from a range of options including V100 Prescribing, V300 Non-Medical; Prescribing, Child Development, Clinical supervision and many more.


You will study this module to gain the full MSc:

  • Independent Scholarship

This research based module will allow an in-depth exploration of a specific area of practice. You will study this module over a year to gain the full MSc. Self-funding is required for this stage.

How you will learn

During this course you will study in University and independently for 50% of your time and the other 50% of the time will be within a placement setting.

We will teach you in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Role modelling
  • Exposure to evidence based practice
  • Group discussions
  • Presentations
  • Lectures
  • Action learning sets.

When you’ve completed the course you will have developed the skills you will need to become an effective specialist nurse in your chosen area of expertise.

To complete the Postgraduate Diploma stage this course will take you one year of full time study or two years of part time study, subject to your Strategic Health Authority contract. The MSc stage takes a further year. Half of your time will be spent on a placement, so you will get hands on experience, as well as learning the theory.

How you're assessed

You will be assessed through exams, observations, assignments, presentation and a practice portfolio. You will also be assessed on your placement by your practice teacher.


When you have completed this course, you will be able to apply for registration on part three of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register. This will allow you to practice as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse in the UK.

When you graduate you will:

  • Have the skills to become an effective specialist nurse in your chosen area of expertise
  • Be committed to lifelong learning, encourage colleagues to be, and contribute to national debates
  • Be able to master clinical practice, care and programme management, clinical practice leadership, and clinical practice development
  • Show leadership and have a critical in depth knowledge of professional roles and functions, so you can bring about integrated and high quality health and social care, through working with other professionals effectively, networking and team working

Have knowledge and skills in evaluating current research and evidence based practice so you can influence and deliver high quality care. 

Visit the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (MSc) page on the University of Derby website for more details!





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